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An ode to linoleum and the best Venezuelan sandwich, ever


Arepas con chorizo y frijoles negro

When I was growing up, things were tough and money was scarce. We had the essentials of course, a roof over our heads, food in our mouths, clothes on our backs and vaccinations in our arms. But it wasn’t all fun and games in our household. One year I got a linoleum square tile for Christmas. The same year, my brother got two squares and my sister, the eldest, three. Two and half years later, with each sibling contributing birthday and Christmas gifts to the common pool, our kitchen floor was completed.

It was a monumental day for our family. We stood there – the five of us - at the beaded curtain doorway to the kitchen, and stared in wonderment at our collective achievement. Our new polyvinyl flooring material for high use areas was finally completed. We all knew our new floor possessed water resistance properties but best of all, we felt a little safer for our china knowing that linoleum could prevent breakage if something were to fall on it. No one said a word that moment in May 1979. We would later celebrate with our Venezuelan neighbors by dining on arepas and orange soda. It was a turning point in our family history and one that we look back on with the fondest of memories.

I used an arepa recipe from Marian Blazes on which is perfect, but I replaced her steak filling with fresh chorizo, queso and black beans. I invite you to celebrate your kitchen flooring by taking a chance on this recipe.

Serves two (makes four arepas)

Arepa dough

  • 1 1/4 cup white or yellow arepa flour (masarepa)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups hot water
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, for frying


  • 4 small fresh chorizo links
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup black beans
  • ¾ cups shredded cheese, such as queso oaxaca or mozzarella 



  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Heat a teaspoon of vegetable oil in a skillet on a medium burner and add the fresh chorizo. Break apart using a wooden spoon. Cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Add onions and garlic to the sausage and stir. Cook until the chorizo and onion caramelizes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare areapa dough. Stir salt into arepa flour Add hot water and mix well with a wooden spoon. Stir in the melted butter. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest 15 minutes.
  5. While dough is resting, warm black beans in a saucepan.
  6. Separate dough into four pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball.
  7. Place each ball in between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or two ziplock bags and flatten gently with the bottom of a pot. Arepas should be about 4 inches in diameter and almost an ¾ inch thick. Use your fingers to smooth out any cracks along the edges.
  8. Heat a tablespoon of oil in cast iron skillet on medium heat.
  9. Cook arepas about 5 minutes on each side until a slightly brown crust forms. They should look like an english muffin. If they are browning too fast, lower the heat. Add more butter or oil for subsequent batches as needed.
  10. Place arepas on a cookie sheet and heat for 10 minutes in the oven to finish cooking.
  11. Slice the arepas in half and add your chorizo, beans and cheese mixture.
  12. Place under a broiler for 2-5 minutes until the cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Suggested serving: Orange soda and hot sauce. 

arepas 4_,ykitchenmoovement



arepas 5_mykitchenmoovement


Reader Comments (8)

Ah it's like pancake with filling minus the syrup. :-) Your version is lighter and simple. Thanks! :-)

April 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkathy

The consistency is more of dough than it is a pancake batter. It should be firm, not sticky or runny. Good luck!

April 3, 2010 | Registered Commentermykitchenmoovement

They look delicious and the story was so touching.

April 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSra. López

Oh yes I remember that floor, it was like a kitchen decoupage. Keep up the humorous tasty morsels :P

April 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWayne

Great story, DELISH looking sando. Can't wait to try :)
- Hillary (& Augie)

April 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHillary

These look delicious! We tried to make arepas once and they didn't come out quite right and we have yet to try again...maybe your recipe will be the secret we needed!

April 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermy boyfriendcooksforme

I think Nick Kindelsperger from Serious Eats has some good advice on making these arepas....

April 11, 2010 | Registered Commentermykitchenmoovement

Can you show some pictures of the vinly flooring?

October 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWood laminate floor

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